Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Storm.

Pretty little midday Memorial Day storm. It chased TLK and yours truly off his ladders and under his tin roof, which was on balance not a bad way to spend the lunch hour. No real progress on his pretty little pergola, but the skies are even now clearing off here in the Gate City, so perhaps there's a bit of late-afternoon post-setting still left in my day. We shall see. For now, from here, AMR and I watch watch the robins on our front porch feed their two babies, rain or shine. Plenty of that off on my horizon.

Forecast looks, as near as I can tell, about like this for the rest of the week. Here's hoping there's enough clear sky for the end-of-week barnraising that's scheduled back here at 709. Gotta get the slab... look like the rest of the shed.

So. That's this week. Today: watch the sky, watch the robins, watch the ballgame, start in on a materials list. I did get the lawn mowed before all the rain. That wee success helps. What it helps, I don't really know, but it's seeming to help all the same.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cedar Siding.

Siding's going up on the writing shed. Hole in the ground for the addition, plumbing in the hole. Weather enthusiasts: if you want to tune yourself back in to what is and what is not coming for you via the sky, dig a giant trench and foundation footing... in thunderstorm season. Come on, city inspectors. Come on, concrete dudes. Tomorrow's forecast looks like we want you to be here today.

Today: Hot and busy.

Tomorrow: Less hot and probably stormy.

Weekend: We shall see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oak Tree.

Early Wednesday morning. I've been up an hour already. Several large trucks rumbling and straining back near the old folks' apartments, making work of what's left of the huge oak that came down through the ceiling in 2B last week. I have no idea how the numbers work over there, but via at least one system that apartment would have been 2B. Picture it: you've lived in that apartment 40 years. You're watching 60 Minutes. Then a tree comes through your ceiling.

Didn't look as though anyone would have been hurt, which is impressive enough: the tree was at least 60 feet tall. I've been a little sad about the whole thing. The top third of that tree was part of the skyline view from the back deck here.

We were beautifully cool at seven, but we're warming already. A long day of siding the shed yawns out in front of us here, all part of the palooza that is checking things off the list before Edward James Olmos starts up on the main stage. The drywall's done. There's a deep hole in the earth where apparently next week there'll be a bathroom. Today: cedar siding, hung by hand. Never done it before. Never done a lot of things before. The chainsaw dudes and the stump-grinding dudes and the big truck dudes beeping their way in reverse around what's left of the oak back there sound like they know what they're doing, though, so at least there is some measure of expertise somewhere in the neighborhood.

Our weather came in from the east the last couple of days. It felt and looked like the beach. Today it seems like we might have managed to slow the record down some, get it spinning back the right way. Today the weather looks like our weather, for better or worse.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Little Thunderstorm.

Rumbly. Throaty. Nothing serious. Out of nowhere. Lovely. Summer. One in the morning. Like a gift.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Night.

Gray and cool -- long-sleeved -- the TLK winter in earnest, if early. We tend to have this in early June. We're having it now. Maybe this is dogwood winter. Maybe it's my grandfather's cotton-pants winter, so named because by now the wool pants are put away. Drywallers in the writing shed. The thing's coming together. I'm beat. I'm tired. The kid's coming. The shed looks good. There damn well better be another novel in that thing. Technically, there better be a first in it. The other shed gave me this one. We'll see what the new building's got in it. For now, drywall dust on the half-draft of whatever that is out there.

Mid-May, friends and fans of calendar dating. Solstice coming. Long evenings. Sun up early, early.

Watching a PBS thing on Iraq vets and re-uppers getting tattoos to make it make more sense. Doesn't really help it make any more sense.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moving Vehicle.

Boys and girls, that was more than enough rain to make a body want for a new rain gauge, and it didn't rain nearly as much here as there—there being just ten or twelve miles east, where the campus flooded in spots and the septics and sewers backed up and power went out on all the puppet show puppeteers trying to finish off portfolios and papers and bunsen-burner-type experiments. Also: word to the wise: do not, on the way home in all that rain, jam on the brakes of your truck and swerve to avoid a near accident unfolding directly in front of you, lest ye spin the fucker out and participate in an accident of your very own by contacting, ever so gently, an oncoming Jeep Cherokee. First words out of my mouth: "Oh, truck!" But not in the way you think. Do not make it sound like you're cursing. Instead, make it sound sad, like you've dropped your mom's Faberge egg she told you not to touch. Oh. Truck. Like that.

Officer Goodspeed, or Goodbody, to despondent me, in the rain: "That's why they started making anti-lock brakes."

The StormChaser is not dead, and it is not even mortally wounded. It is, however, in want of I think a little alignment work, and probably a new left front fender. A new headlight. Some trim. I drove it home. But still: Goddamnit, shit and hell. Our other participant was not hurt, though she did lock herself briefly out of her car, her two unhurt Chihuahuas inside, until Officer Strongbody opened for her the unlocked right rear door.

In other news, the world is silent but for Boston, which treated this spring's little ongoing experiment in hardcover storytelling quite favorably. The drywall dude comes tomorrow to drywall the writing shed. I have applied for a building permit for the bathroom. Everything on the up-and-up. The straight and narrow. Somewhere around here are the bees' knees, one or both of those birds in the bush, a gift horse, a stitch, some time, and the three inches I needed between me and the mirror and then door handle of that eastbound Jeep.

My back hurts. I'm pretty sure, though, it's from the Cirque-du-Soleil moves I just pulled out back hanging the electric box for the ceiling fan. Gotta get that in pre-drywall. And now, for my next trick. Take my wife, please. I just flew in from 27244, and boy are my arms tired. Oh, truck.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Looming.

Sweet baby Jesus in a microwaved bowl of water it's hot. I mean, it's not August-hot, but still: this is no kind of weather to be out wandering around in. Maybe we'll get lucky and draw another cool night like last night, though the humidity ended up being something like 435%, and so cool or no, we had to run the A/C to sleep. I love only one thing more than running the A/C full blast to sleep: not having to run the thing at all. The airport, friends and fans of nascent summer, was reporting mist at midnight. That was not mist. That's just what happens when days like yesterday and today cool off so far, so fast. That was a cloud that settled down on the the 2740Xs. That was the fog pouring out of the fridge. The steam from the dishwasher. We dry-iced ourselves. Still, it was nice.

Item: Outdoor wedding tomorrow night. In South Carolina. Coastal South Carolina. Not even seersucker might be up to that challenge.

Item: Storms off in the mountains. Who knows. Maybe we'll see something later.

But: Riding pickupped over the rise on Aycock last evening just before sunset, big windows down and the corner windows kicked open and blowing hot air through the cab, I looked out over the tops of the trees that run through Guilford Hills and around the high school and there was that deep summer haze—almost like mist, if you want—and even though I am not much for deepest summer, and maybe not even for haze, I did feel something like a happy calm—there was a familiar flag raised up, a song I sort of knew the words to. I don't know what to tell you, Weatherheads. I never do. It may just come to this: If mosquitoes and air conditioning and even the arrival of the bomb that is our daughter Edward James Olmos is the cost of whatever that little moment of peace was, then, you know, OK. Alright? OK.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

City Zoning.

Oh, another week slides by, and yes, there was weather, and no, we could not quite find somebody to go out and cover it. No live remotes from the soon-to-be-bathroomed shed. No discussion of what seemed until this afternoon to be an onsetting TLK winter, one month early. Other things not getting press: the smell of honeysuckle on the ride home. The smell of peonies in the front yard. The fledged house finches. The threat of rain with such little follow-through that I may have to find a sprinkler. We've lived in the house a year and a half, and I've not yet used a sprinkler. It got hot. Then it cooled. Both of those things were mainly dry. Now it's getting warm again. This is how it's always gone; this is how it goes.

Edward James Olmos arrives in a month. Five weeks, if we're lucky. I'm taking concrete bids for the shed bathroom slab. I'm taking plumbing bids for the shed bathroom plumbing. I'm doing overly-complicated blueprinting for the shed bathroom specs. I have been to the city. They have told me I can't do it the way I want to. So I'll do it their way. Fine. Good prep for an infant. For an eight-year-old. For a college-aged kid. It's all one long zoning variance, if you squint at it right. Right?

I'm going to say we're edging up against seventy-five or eighty humid degrees out here at the puppet show, where one more semester winds down in lawn-chair conferences beneath the Chinese fir. And because we're hopelessly outmanned, instead of taking an actual 27401 reading to round out the Triad's least-reliable in media res forecast of late, we'll call it the same temp and relative humidity back home in GSO, too. Knock a degree or two off for Winston. They're closer to the mountains. Add one or two for anybody down east. They're down east. Little line of showers trying to stitch itself together off in the mountains. Maybe that'll get here. Probably it won't, but it's on the radar, and it seemed like somebody ought to make mention. Much stronger stuff than that off to our north and west, but holding north and sliding by, it appears. Shut those windows, Virginians. As for us down here: keep 'em open, but keep an eye out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Drier Night.

Here's what got better: the humidity. It's still warm, but we had the kind of evening that wanted for porch-sitting, and got it: a long day at the puppet show let go into a lovely evening of lime and ice and prison farm Adirondacking, dog laying up in the newly accumulated pollen and the forecast laying up in the same. We avoided the ten or twenty inches of rain that fell on Tennessee. We avoided storms altogether. We held on.

Warm through the end of the week. May is setting in. More in the morning, friends and fans of setting summer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Southern Man.

May, and eleven-thirty at night, and it's hot out there—summer hot. Eighty degrees. Upstairs and downstairs A/Cs both at it, and not just because we've had windows open to ventilate the two different greens we tried on Edward James Olmos' walls. It's truly hot. With a wind, which seems wrong, or off, or bent, or mangled. Storms coming. Those same storms dropped nearly twenty inches in some places near Memphis and Nashville today. Here's hoping those folks had buckets handy. And boats. Here's hoping ours tomorrow aren't quite as damp. Here's hoping the temps back off, and the oil doesn't come onshore, and the risen creeks fall back mid-Southward and then here, and here's hoping all else that needs hoping for: we're six weeks plus a year and a half away from bedtime that anybody can remember or process, away from god bless Mommy and Daddy and who knows who might also need be added to that string, and let's just say I'm glad I don't have my brother's two-year-old to put down tonight, to lead through the ablutions to the deity of his choice or ours, to explain what it is we've done to the Gulf or to Tennessee or to our very own back yard. The world seemed complicated enough before we blew up the ocean. And now look.

We're hot for a week, say the fancies. I don't like it. Don't trust it. It always warms up in May, and last night saw the first mosquitoes of the year, and the irises are blooming, and the hydrangeas—what more summerlike than the hydrangeas?—are coming in, but still. Still. I don't know. Feels like it smells wrong. Or half-wrong.

Hang on in Tennessee. Hang on in all those Port St. Place-names down there Gulfward. It seems hard here. It is not hard here.